Inspired by the conceptual art exhibition Art By Telephone (Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1969), in which participants phoned in their specifications for their works of art, artists Kim Schoenstadt and Rita McBride will exchange instructions to create their respective artworks in their first two-person U.S. Museum exhibition. Tell Me Something Good: A Collaboration between Kim Schoenstadt and Rita McBride opens at the Santa Monica Museum of Art on September 12 and will be on view through December 5, 2009.
The original 1969 Art By Telephone was curated by Jan van der Marck. Its basic premise was to invite international and out-of-state artists to phone instructions that would be executed bymuseum installers. Schoenstadt and McBride have created their ‘exchange’ as a variation of the 1969 project, with each phoning the other with instructions for a work. At SMMoA, Schoenstadt will create McBride’s work according to the instructions - photographs of all the gas stations along California Highway 1 between Los Angeles International Airport and Point Dume. McBride was asked by Schoenstadt to choose a discarded drawing from her studio and load it into a fax machine, then ask the Gallery to fax the floor plans of their proposed exhibition space. The combination of interposed drawing and architectural plan provided the final composition. This work was shown at New York gallery Alexander and Bonin from May 9 through June 13, 2009.
The project takes up the "telephone game" idea of transforming visual information into language and back to visual, and also embraces the conceptual promise that 'anyone' can make an art work based on the idea of the systemic production of art according to instruction. In the current era of instant messaging and social media, Schoenstadt and McBride use the telephone as a means of communication to initiate their conceptual works that explore the ramifications of what happens when an artist gives up control over his or her project. With its focus on collaboration and exploration of the nature of authorship, this exhibition is the perfect complement to the Allen Ruppersberg exhibition, which runs concurrently at SMMoA.
Schoenstadt received a BFA from Pitzer College, California, and has participated in many solo and two-person exhibitions and projects in Europe and the U.S., including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, London. Her body of work centers around the exploration of drawing, and frequently includes series in which the final product is arrived at by chance or by instructions provided either via the audience or other artists; her works are often site-specific. Schoenstadt lives and works in Venice, California.
McBride received a BA from Bard College, New York, and an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. She is the recipient of many awards and residencies, including the prestigious Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2002). Her projects vary greatly from unorthodox books to large-scale sculptures. Her work has been shown at the SculptureCenter, New York, and she has had several solo museum exhibitions throughout Europe. McBride lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany where she is a professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.
The catalog accompanying the project is a recording of each artist’s instructions on a vinyl record, just as it was for the original 1969 Art By Telephone. The record will be playing in the Project Room as part of the installation; a limited edition of signed copies will be available for sale. Tell Me Something Good: A Collaboration between Kim Schoenstadt and Rita McBride is organized by the Santa Monica Museum of Art and curator Lisa Melandri, Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs.